“There’s a connection between people that have been there, done that; it’s hard to put into words. Cancer is not all we talk about, but it’s something we know we can talk about.”

All smiles: Nancy (left) and her mentee Judi (right) at one of their first meetings

Nancy Loughery is a kidney-cancer survivor, Mentor Angel, and Imerman Angels’ Ambassador from Florida. She has built a three-way friendship with her mentees Amy and Judi and she is sharing her story in hopes of helping others on their cancer journeys.

This is one in a series so stay tuned for forthcoming updates and photos.

NANCY LOUGHERY: Survivor, Mentor Angel, Florida Ambassador

Age: 55

Diagnosis: Clear Cell Renal Carcinoma (Kidney Cancer)

Date of diagnosis: August 2002

Age of diagnosis: 42 years old

Family history with cancer: Every female on dad’s side has died from breast cancer or complications of breast cancer treatment. Mother diagnosed in her 70s, still survives.

Lifestyle:  Vegetarian for 14 years, trying to go vegan (no dairy)

How many times have you been a Mentor Angel? 12 – 18 times to mostly early stage kidney cancer but others including ovarian.

Relationship to Amy and Judi:  Mentor Angel to Judi, and to Amy who volunteers in same shelter – I wasn’t officially Amy’s Mentor Angel, although I did talk her into signing up later. I just sought her out when I learned of her diagnosis – kind of an unofficial mentor.

Share a bit about your life before you became part of the Imerman Angels community.  I was grasping for ways to do something useful for the cancer community. I walked in a bunch of breast cancer fundraisers (kidney cancer doesn’t have much going on in that area yet, although there’s a cool race in DC every fall called Boo! Run for Life that raises money specifically for kidney cancer research) and I participated in the local Relay for Life every year. I lobbied Congress with Action to Cure Kidney Cancer. I started pestering Scott Swimmer to let me raise money for his organization (drumSTRONG::drumsforcures) at the Chicago Drum Show and did that for a couple of years. I was always searching. Imerman Angels gave me an opportunity to make a difference on a more personal level.

How learned of Imerman Angels? My friend Scott Swimmer told me about Imerman Angels, and he asked Jonny Imerman to call me because he thought I’d enjoy mentoring.

Tell us a bit about your Mentor Angel(s) experience. How did the first meeting go?
“I think (Amy, Judi and I) are beyond Mentor Angels and are just friends now 🙂  Judi is the first official support seeker that I met face to face – I’m not counting Amy because I volunteered with her at the time she was diagnosed. Meeting Judi was wonderful. She and Amy are just amazing people. There’s a connection between people that have been there, done that; it’s hard to put into words. Cancer is not all we talk about, but it’s something we know we can talk about.

What other resources helped you along your cancer journey that others may want to know about?  The people at Action to Cure Kidney Cancer saved my sanity. They provide an outlet for my need to “do something” for my specific cancer in the form of organized letter writing campaigns and Congressional lobbying, which I’ll be doing again in early March 2016.

How would you describe Imerman Angels to someone who is recently diagnosed or is caring for someone that is?  Imerman Angels is a lifeline that can connect you to someone who has experienced and understands what you’re going through.